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I’d like to see data on the cost of constructing school facilities when undertaken by public schools versus private schools. Given the record of cost overruns and inefficient use of labor in the building of public projects like highways (e.g. the Big Dig), sports stadiums and the like and the fact that special interests stand to benefit a great deal from the construction of educational facilities, one should at least be wary of the argument that schooling needs to be produced by government.

Note, this is not an argument against government subsidies for schooling (which I oppose nonetheless) but rather an argument against the government producing schooling. Construction companies and construction unions are likely to argue for the building of more facilities and undertake more maintenance than someone without skin in the game might recommend. Therefore public schooling has a built in constituency for overexpansion of facilities. Further, when the government is in the business of awarding contractors, they are likely to be paying far higher wages and far more for the construction of facilities than a private agency would likely be able to pay. Couple this fact with the weak record of governments in monitoring the progress and quality of the work it contracts out for – and you have a recipe for financial disaster when schools are operated by governments.

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